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Review: 13 Minutes

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough

I received a copy from Netgalley.


This is a brilliant twisty turning mystery with a somewhat chilling feeling of just how nasty and manipulative teenage girls can be when they don’t get their own way. I didn’t find a single likeable or redeemable character in this novel, and usually when I can’t stand the characters I have no interest in the novel.


However, the novel was so exceptionally well written that the story itself was pretty unputdownable. I read the first 20% or so one afternoon, and then the next time I picked it up, I found myself reading the rest, I had to know what the hell was going on.


This is a UK based novel set at a sixth form college (17/18 year olds go just before going to college/university). The novel focuses on two main characters, Becca and Natasha who used to be best friends whilst growing up, with another girl Hayley in their little group. But as they grew up Becca didn’t fit the image that Tasha wanted so Becca was frozen out and another girl Jenny became best friends with Tasha and Hayley. Tasha is the queen bee of the group Becca has nicknamed the Barbies because they’re all blonde, perfect and popular (and bitchy).


Becca is a stoner with a musician boyfriend who has left school. She’s grumpy, moody and has one real friend Hannah who is the class loser. Becca’s only real friend yet she treats Hannah horribly. Worse when she learns Tasha has had a terrible accident but survives. Becca finds herself going to the hospital to see Tasha who has no memory of the terrible thing that happened or the events leading up to it.


So the mystery begins. It’s clear right off from chapters of texts between Hayley and Jenny they know something. The novel is told in alternating viewpoints Becca’s third person, Tasha’s first person from a diary the psychiatrist asked her to keep, police notes and psychiatrist reports. With Tasha’s memory loss she and Becca start reconnecting and putting the pieces together much to the dismay of Hayley, Jenny and Hannah who Becca has started blowing off and being meaner to.


While Becca is sullen and moody and quick to answer, Tasha is your typical queen bee bitch. She makes absolutely no apologies for her appalling personality. Hayley and Jenny are cardboard cut-out mean girls with very little personalities of their own – the exception being that Jenny is pegged as trashy and made fun of for being easy and sleeping around. This comes back to be a big plot point later on in the novel.


Despite the annoying characters, as the mystery builds and things get darker and twister it’s extremely compelling, it gives the idea that it’s very predictable and you think you know what’s going on, it’s fairly obvious. But then there are quite a few sudden unexpected shock twists. As the twists start happening and the police investigation continues it does take a darker tone. It’s not a comfy pleasant mystery at all. It’s certainly compelling and did leave me with a bit of a chill after the end.


Definitely an author I would read again.


Thank you Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for approving my request to view the title.